Cast: Rilly, Rhiannon, Hitaka, Katazuki, Zel
When last we left off, the unlikely companions had traced the goblin threat back to Thistletop, in a tower structure on an island through a network of brush, cave, and undergrowth. First, the explorers were given fits when they were set upon by a wily druid and her pet firepelt after the group had dispatched a group of goblin dogs. Narrowly escaping that battle without casualty, they retreated, regrouped, and then returned, finding their way to a bridge to the aforementioned island. Playing it safe, slow, and steady, they approached the bridge, then played at range, drawing several goblin dogs across the bridge.
Goblin dogs, it seems, are bad at recognizing when a bridge is rigged to dump people into the ocean below, as they rushed out onto the rickety structure and found themselves swimming and drowning. Unfortunately, this left our loosely-termed heroes on one side of the water and their objective on the other. Satisfied that they had at least slowed the goblins down, they set about exploring the remaining area, eventually climbing down into a cave below surface level to fight a bunyip (writer’s note: I think it was a bunyip. I can’t remember for sure, but that sounds right). After besting the creature in its lair and exhausting their search possibilities, as well as exploring the coastline across from the island, another return to Sandpoint was in order while they figured out the next move.
The next move was easy enough to figure out, as a day later, the goblins of Thistletop had repaired the bridge, reinstating the same trap they’d previously used to great effect against their own hounds. This time, Rilly managed to undo some of the goblin “handiwork” in order to allow herself and Zel to make their way across, cutting the goblins outside off from entering the tower. Hitaka followed, as did the rest, and the goblin sentries outside were cut down in short order.
The Sandpoint Guardians were not nearly so fortunate after opening the door to the tower, as a veritable horde of goblins had flooded the entryway (one of the towers’ inhabitants had noticed the intruders and came down to intervene). Zel, and then Rhiannon, stood at the door while the goblins swarmed, and a long stalemate occurred. Eventually, the invaders slowly won out, whittling down the numbers and slowly gaining ground until the goblins could no longer hold against the superior might of their foes.
Using this egress as a starting point, they began to explore the facility, happening upon a room with several goblins who had managed to eat themselves sick on some fetid pickles (and were promptly put down). After checking a tower and doing some exploring, the party found a room with several goblin dogs inside. A mixture of arrow, slingstone, and fire exterminated the beasts, though Rhiannon’s aim seemed to betray her (sadly a common occurrence this day – though thankfully the warrior was stout enough to still hold her ground and get some licks in). A search of the room found a pair of dead goblins. After some extended hypothesizing about how the goblins heads had been caved in (varying theories included cantaloupes, grapes, and flies all being far more aggressive than one would expect them to be), Hitaka casted Light on the well-nailed-up door and looked through, finding a horse that, though abused, clearly had the potential to be a magnificent animal.
The group immediately agreed that the abuse the horse had suffered was more than enough, and they set about freeing the scared animal. Zel, using caution, apples, and fancy horse-speak, managed to calm the beast down, and eventually it realized the non-goblins weren’t threats, and eventually came out of the tiny hovel it had been lodged in. The goblin dog and goblin corpses were stashed in the room the horse had been previously stuffed in, and the courtyard-like room that the had inhabited was now where the horse stayed for now while the group continued to explore.
An outhouse, some staircases (one down, one up into a tower that proved empty), and several storage rooms were all discovered. Some foodstuffs were found (including the vile floor pickles), and some grain given to the horse from the storage room (as the horse looked damn near starved), and more exploration continued. Eventually, as Zel opened a door into a larger room, all hell threatened to break loose – our heroes had encountered the chief of the Thistletop goblins.
Ripnugget and his get were quite ready for a fight, but despite this, they still seemed to move just a shade too slow as the battle began. Zel dashed into the room and unleashed a pair of arrows into the nearest goblin, dropping what turned out to be a spellslinging little wretch, leaving it gurgling blood instead of spell words as it died. Rhiannon hesitated for just a split second before moving in, allowing Hitaka to coat the vast majority of the room in a web, completely jamming up the combat plan of Ripnugget and his retinue.
Rhiannon moved in and engaged a goblin, while Ripnugget mounted his giant gecko moved in, recognizing the mage for the threat he was after lobbing that Web spell. Still, the spell slowed the mounted charge down to a mere attack – a vital hitch in the plan – as the party moved in to combat the goblin chief. Ripnugget’s backup was mostly locked down, as two of them were firmly entrenched in the web, and the third was out of position to give his chieftain much assistance. Arrows flew, fire was breathed, and the goblin chief struck back when he could, but with the webbing, he was out of position and his gambits were hampered. Meanwhile, the less hardy members of our heroes seemed to rotate in and out of danger, withdrawing at critical points to avoid taking further damage once they had suffered a couple of hits, and denying Ripnugget the same opportunity. Eventually the chieftain finally fell, and it was not long before his goblin commando backup did the same, outmatched and outmanned.
Once Ripnugget, his friends, and his gecko were no more, the Sandpoint Guardians resumed searching the area, eventually locating a stash of loot, several other (ultimately uninteresting) places, and a large iron key. Eventually, after some deduction, it was discovered that in the back of a previously discovered goblin outhouse (and you thought trying to get the smell of goblin out was bad before) was a secret stash which the key went to. After gathering all of the well-earned loot and clearing out the first floor, the adventurers gathered to discuss what path to take next and how to move forward, which is where our story ends for this week.